ADVICE NEEDED! Safety Concerns
Real Moms Sharing Their Experiences and Advice
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Question: Advice desperately needed… Family of 5 in Blue Springs, MO. Our middle son is 5 years old, has autism (severe/nonverbal) & global developmental delay. We are currently struggling with our son’s safety. He is a wonderer, very impulsive with poor safety awareness. We have locks, alarms, double sided deadbolts (we have to hide the keys), zip ties on the manual part of the garage door, have moved buttons out of reach and windows are screwed shut. He STILL manages to get out!! I don’t understand and all of our efforts are never enough. The police have been involved numerous times. Most of the time very helpful but I also recently received a “child endangerment” ticket from the police department. Which will cost me more $$ for an attorney. Because of my job I cannot have accusations made in that respect just because the police department is not accurately educated in regards to autistic children. Any ideas on how to keep our son safe. He likes to be naked and a tracking device wouldn’t work. We are currently working on getting a service dog but that is a lengthy process and we have to start fundraising for his dog. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.
- Tim S: Thank you Dolly Chambers Shaffner. Yes. Every officer needs training so they can have A Better Understanding of Autism. I have been fortunate to be able to train all types of public safety officers, attorneys, and Judges. But I haven’t even scratched the surface. They need to realize and understand that they need training. For the wandering/elopement issue, I would recommend that you go to www. projectlifesaver.org. they have many tools to deal with wandering. My agency is very involved in Project Lifesave. Project Lifesaver International | Bringing Loved Ones Home. With the addition of PAL Project Lifesaver will help…PROJECTLIFESAVER.ORG
- Lynn A: You need to go to the police department and complain first of all. And show them documentation that your child is disabled. If you want you invite them in and show them what you have done in the home….they might be able to come up with ideas also…you should get him an is bracelet….get him an alarm it goes on the ankle and can’t be taken off…what I would do is place a couple of hidden cameras in the house to tape him getting out…but be there so you can get him….place locks on the doors that only you and other adults can reach…and he cant..not even with a chair……get alarms for every window and door again place them high enough so he can’t reach….if you need a service dog…start a gofundme page at gofundme.com. GoFundMe: #1 for Crowdfunding & Fundraising Websites. Over $1.1 Billion raised for personal causes! GOFUNDME.COM
- Autism and Pizza: At this stage, when physical alterations of his environment aren’t working, I would look at finding a way to get him intensive in-home behavioral therapy to address the problem. Does he get any in-home therapy like ABA? He needs someone 1:1 observing and shadowing him to figure out how he is getting out and then implementing a plan to change his behaviors.
- Michelle V: I went put my daughter on record with my local pd dep and sheriff’s dep her diagnosis she’s eloper and wanders off she. Wears alert me band …they cannot mid treat you due to behaviors that our children autism have 39% autistic children wander off n elope my jassy does both … Police department agencies need more aware autism
- Robin W: Even the most severely disabled special needs child can benefit from behavioral shaping. Seek out a behavioral consultant. I can point out some resources if you have trouble locating one. If you can’t afford one, I can help you with a plan to acclimate him to a tracker
- Carina E: A service dog is a wonderful thing (my daughter has one) but it will not solve your problem. Please do lots of research and beware of promises. A dog can be your son’s best friend and that is great, but you cannot expect to tie a dog to your child and for either one to be safe.
- Mindee B: I can’t help with the locks but but there is a mama who makes clothing and tags to help if they get lost so that someone knows they have ASD and need help Erin McMannon Wilson is her name here is the linkhttps://ifineedhelp.org/ If I Need Help Now accepting donations conveniently via Paypal. Your Tax deductible contributions go to helping get safety… IFINEEDHELP.ORG
- Laurie F: My advice would be to talk to a special needs behaviorist. You can go through the school district for that. As far as the Police are concerned, you fight it. They have NO RIGHT to do that to your family. Get in touch with ARC or March of Dimes and they can’t get you the info to fight this, or put you in touch with someone who can. You have taken ever necessary precaution to protect your child, you need to find out from someone who has the expertise in this to give you other safety methods. Good luck to you hon. I feel so bad for you. I understand.
- Dianna W: We have a severe disability in our family also. But is more physical. So, I’ll switch gears here and share with you what we’ve experienced in the past with a friend and her 40 year old son. Because she had type2 diabetes, I helped her with her son while my niece was with me every step of the way. My niece is paraplegic with mild mental delay. Our friend’s son was blind, deaf, and schizophrenic with other various mental disorder. Because he roamed a lot we had locks on doors and cabinets. He would get into the fridge and toss food everywhere, rip up his clothes on a regular basis and prefer being naked. He’s get up all hours of the night and repeatedly attempt to take showers. Pull off his diapers and soil his bed, several times a night, most nights. When upset, we never knew whose head he’d try to slam his head into so we needed to keep my niece at a distance. He’d help himself to anyone’s plate of food nearby, and the list goes on. Although our friend struggled greatly with the decision of medication, she finally realized that finding the right meds was the only solution to help with his severe special needs. This is the only thing I can think of because of our experiences. Of course it would have to be prescribed by the right dr. giving him the correct dosage. This takes time and a lot of trial and even possible error till its right for him. And then, as he’s monitored, adjustments may be made as he grows. But think of the options otherwise…
- Dalila G: I don’t know if it would help, but my son used to be so extremely active, especially when we went shopping, that I had to keep him on a torso harness and leash. Of course someone was always
- Althea H: Not sure if this will help with the escaping but Gemiini looks promising for nonverbal children. It is also said that it helps children to become more aware of their surroundings. Some if not most begin to communicate. I have been looking in to it for my child, but haven’t used it yet. Please check it out, they have a page on fb as well. Hope this is of some help to u.
- Susan R: This should put the police in fear for the child safety instead of attacking the family with charges. THEY SHOULD BE CHARGED WITH CHILD ENDANGERMENT FOR NOT WANTING TO DO EVERYTHING TO HELP THIS FAMILY WITH PROTECTING THIS CHILDS SAFETY!!!’
- Jessica S: I don’t know what they are called or the website. But there is an online retailer that sells beds for disabled kids and adults that have like a tent over them so they can’t get out at night. They have accessories to but to make it into a calming sensory environment. They are very durable and string adults cannot get out. I assure you it’s NOT a cage. They can see out and call for help. Not sound proof. It’s prevents wandering at night so parents can sleep. Also safe for people with seizures so they don’t bump their head. I would Google “enclosed bed sleeping space for special needs
- Melissa M: I used to be involved in a program in Valencia, CA. We created a list of children with special needs, included their identifying information, picture and disabilities as well as advice on how to manage them. We got the sheriff’s department to document these children and be involved in a more positive manner. I recommend you rally with your local law enforcement to do the same.
- Mary H: Maybe someone already suggested this, but in our city, senior services through our sheriff office has a few options available to keep your child safe. I would suggest starting there. Get to know the policemen and women in your area so they know you and when the call comes in they already know it’s not an endangerment issue, but that you are doing everything possible. I’m sorry this happened and will send you some positive energies for a positive resolution to the charges.
- None Less, Inc.: Does your son receive ABA to address the severe safety/behavior issues? Rarely do I like to suggest medication but, if y U haven’t already perhaps see a child psychiatrist to assess. The big issue with the police is usually not militant but rather ignorance”. I have trained hundreds of police officers and would be happy to write on behalf of your family to the police chief in your area, and offer them training. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would also look at getting your son and ID anklet due to his running and nonverbal communication. You can also look at the buddy tag which can be worn on the ankle too.
- Shannon S: I’m so sorry you are having to go through this with your son. My heart goes out to you! I too had a child like this. (Naked eloper with a penchant for unlocking anything). As others have stated contact your local PD and make them aware. Maybe get a letter from your child’s dr. as well. My son had to eventually be hospitalized. Alarms do help and possibly having an ankle monitor. Check with your local ARC or Regional Center for BIP training. Best of luck to you and your son.
- Jennifer E: We use flip locks and put them high enough were my 11 year old can’t reach. He doesn’t have the coordination to climb on something to unlock it so for now we are good. Does your son climb? If not, then maybe flip locks are something you can look into. The locks are also very cheap about 2.50 a piece.
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